To quickly reiterate – if you don’t take the advice ‘contract first move second’ from part 1 then no technique or equipment can improve performance…period. https://wefit.ca/2016/10/24/ab-flab-part-1/
Remember you don’t have to be good at this in the beginning you just fake it a bit, play safe don’t rush and it will develop. First off you will want to choose a type of ab move for you. Now we favour proper equipment as seen in the video below but with so many different choices lets cover what we don’t recommend.
In general we don’t like cranking up from flat on the floor especially with hands behind or even beside your head. Anything that encourages neck and upper back bending is completely counter to the actual physical function of your abdominals. The same goes for ab machines where we do not recommend those with hand grips up towards your head. Don’t be fooled, hands up by your head may ‘feel’ like you are hitting your abs more but actually you are just kicking in your mid and upper back muscles. What you are feeling is more of a stretch in your connective tissue than actual muscle work. Bending the upper back and neck excessively tensions the lower back making it tough to properly articulate the lumbars as they should when your abs contract.
The first video shows the type of ab machine we use and recommend which reduces neck bend.
If you don’t have access to our style of ab machine our primary recommendation is a decline bench ab move. While you can use a standard gym ab bench we find sometimes they are too dramatically declined. You don’t need too severe and angle. For performance watch the video and start with short mid range reps only. Once you have some good mind-muscle connection you can extend range but avoid laying down at the bottom and resting. Again this will encourage bending of the neck and upper back as you fatigue and possibly try to cheat out a few last reps. Don’t rush it and don’t hold hands high even if it feels easy at first. Ease into short range reps to start and if you contract your ab muscles first, then let the lower back bend forward, you will really feel it. If you don’t your hips will just kick in and you will lose the proper effect as tension shifts from abdominals outward to non-targetted musculature. As you improve you can also add twisting or just plain side crunches to further target your full midsection.
Start small not resting at top or bottom of movement. Make the reps bigger as you gain your mind-muscle connection. Try twists to target obliques.
Be well, be strong,
Andrew and Tierney